I've been a northern pike fisherperson since I started fishing in the Northern's Inc. fishing club when I was 11 years old. I fell in love with it right away.
I'm now 16. Over the years I've watched as the lakes we fished on were stocked with muskies and then slotted.
The first tournament I ever fished was on Little Boy/ Wabedo when I was 11. Now we can't have a tournament on that lake because it has a slot. The reason the lakes are slotted is because the size of the northern pike is decreasing and needs to be improved. I believe a big factor in the size decrease is muskies. When muskies are stocked in a lake that has northern pike it's been my experience that the size of the pike decreases.
One of the best lakes for trophy pike is Gull Lake. Now there's a debate over whether or not muskies should be stocked in the lake. I don't want to see muskies stocked in Gull Lake for the reason that too many lakes that once were trophy pike lakes have been taken over by muskies. Prime examples of this are Cedar Lake and Lake Alexander. Our club used to fish Lake Alexander, but then muskies were stocked in the lake and it's been slotted. Cedar Lake isn't far behind. There have been significantly fewer trophy northerns coming out of Cedar Lake in recent years.
As far as I know there is no scientific evidence that the presence of muskies leads to a decrease in the size of northern pike, but because of lakes like Cedar and Alexander I have good reason to believe it does. There are very few trophy pike lakes left in Minnesota. Two of the best are Gull and Whitefish.
Right now I can catch a 30-inch northern on Gull Lake. When I'm 30 years old I want to be able to do the same. I'm afraid that if muskies are stocked in Gull Lake the trophy northerns will disappear. I'm not opposed to muskies or muskie fishing, but I oppose stocking them in a trophy pike lake. If I want to catch a muskie I can go to Mille Lacs.
At our club tournaments the person who catches the biggest fish of the day gets a "lunker cap." I'm determined to get one of those hats and I would like as many opportunities as possible. If trophy lakes, such as Gull, are stocked with muskies, then future northern fisher people will have fewer opportunities to catch trophy pike.
I haven't kept up with the specifics of this debate, but one thing I keep hearing is that both sides are doing this for the future fisher people. So far I've haven't heard much from those future fisher people. As one of them, I'd like to make my statement: I'm opposed to stocking muskies in Gull Lake.
Kim Carper is a student at Brainerd High School and a member of Northerns Inc.
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